1. TAKE THE AIRPORT EXPRESS
Getting to and from the Hong Kong International airport couldn’t be any easier. The Airport Express connects the airport to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island in under 24 minutes. Get on the train right at the airport after you pass customs & immigration. Tickets are available at the airport, but every time we went there was a long line. We opted to purchase our tickets online at Klook not only will you avoid that line, but there are 30% cheaper when you purchase them online. For about the same price Hong Kong Airport Express tickets can be purchased on Viator here, we’ve been using Viator for years and have always had good experiences.
Most people don’t know about Klook, but a friend that has lived in Hong Kong for years recommended it. I purchased online, they sent an email with a voucher, we boarded the train at the airport, and when we got off we went to the service desk showed them the email to get our tickets (ticket required you just have to enter it into the machine to get out of the station). If you buy a round trip ticket they’ll give you your ticket back to the airport at this time.
To/From Hong Kong Island:
- First train: 5:50 am
- Last train: 0:48 am
- Frequency: 12 min
- Duration: 24 min
- One way $6 USD Round Trip $16 USD
- First train: 5:53 am
- Last train: 0:52 am
- Frequency: 12 min
- Duration: 22 min
- One way $8 USD Round Trip $15 USD
If you prefer to take a car from the airport I’d book this private shuttle for only $47, you won’t get this price if you book at the airport. Make sure to book online in advance. If you are traveling solo and are open to a shared airport shuttle in Hong Kong it’s only $27. If your hotel in Hong Kong isn’t close to the MRT and you don’t want to navigate to your hotel this might be the best option and it isn’t that much more.
2. GET AN OCTOPUS CARD
We really wish we would have gotten an Octopus card in Hong Kong, it would have made our lives in Hong Kong so much easier. An octopus card is basically like a prepaid debit card but it works all over Hong Kong. Instead, we were always fumbling with coins trying to MTR tickets for every journey. With an octopus card, you just scan your card over the reader and the payment is deducted from your prepaid stored value.
Octopus cards can be used at:
- All MTR stations
- Star Ferry
- Peak Tram
- Mc Donald’s
The best octopus card for a tourist is the “On-Loan Octopus” which requires you to pay a $50HK refundable deposit that covers the card cost. Octopus cards can be purchased at all MTR stations, we suggest buying one at the Airport Express station at the Hong Kong airport before you even head to the city.
3. STAY AT A CENTRAL HOTEL
There are 815 hotels on Agoda in Hong Kong picking the right one can be a challenge in itself. First, decide if you want to stay on Hong Kong Island or on the Kowloon side. We spent 4 nights on Hong Kong Island and 2 nights in Kowloon as there so many things to do in Kowloon we wanted to base ourselves on that side a few nights.
On Hong Kong Island, we found staying in the area known as “Central” was the best. We stayed at The Pottinger Hotelwhich was only a few minutes walk to Central MTR station and nearby a bunch of great restaurants and unique things to do in Hong Kong. Over on the Kowloon side, we stayed at The Luxe Manor located right in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsu and only 5-minutes away from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station. We were able to walk to almost all the best things to do in Kowloon.
If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb there are tons of condos for a fraction of the price available. Staying in an Airbnb will also help save money on meal costs as you can easily make breakfast before heading off exploring Hong Kong.
4. TAKE THE MTR IN HONG KONG
The MTR in Hong Kong is super easy to understand and get around Hong Kong. If you purchase an octopus card like mentioned above, you just touch your card and you can move around the city freely. Plug in your destination on Google Maps and pick public transportation. The directions will give you a step by step guide on what MTR station to get off on and even what exit out of the MTR station to take.
5. WHERE TO EAT CHEAP IN HONG KONG
Hong Kong is expensive, we’re not going to lie, but there are a few cheap places to eat in Hong Kong. One of the best things to do in a new city is to go on a food tour, we went with Hong Kong Foodie Tours where they showed us some of the best things to eat in Hong Kong and where to eat cheap in Hong Kong. Some of the best and cheapest places to eat in Hong Kong are the little local places. In Hong Kong Dim Sum is king, but you can also find some awesome BBQ/roast pork, wonton noodle soup, egg tarts, Hong Kong waffles, etc.
Some of our favorite cheap places to eat in Hong Kong were Dim Sum Square on Hong Kong Island and Tim Ho Wan (also dim sum) which have a few locations in Hong Kong. Two people can be stuffed on dim sum for under $100HK. The only other place we found for under $5 a meal was McDonald’s…which we did end up at once or twice for a cheap meal and fifty cent ice cream cones.
We highly suggest this Dim Sum tour for only $26, you’ll get stuffed on some the best Dim Sum in Hong Kong and the local guide will give you some tips of other cheap places in Hong Kong to eat.
6. VICTORIA PEAK TRAM | SKIP THE LINE TAKE A TAXI
The line just to purchase a ticket to ride the Victoria Peak tram can be over 2 hours long. We had one good look at the line and realized there had to be a faster way to Victoria Peak. We looked it up on Uber Hong Kong but they were having surge pricing so we hopped in a cab. Within 15 minutes we were at Victoria Peak and the taxi bill was only $65 HKD. The Victoria Peak tram price is $88HK round trip but this includes admission to Sky Terrace 428. If you take a taxi up to Victoria Peak you can almost the same view at The Peak Galleria for FREE, just follow the signs Victoria Harbour view. The view at Sky Terrace is slightly better and another floor up, the price for a ticket to Sky Terrace 428 is $48 HKD. There is a taxi stand at the ground level of The Peak Galleria so getting back down the peak is no problem.
- Victoria Peak Tram Cost: $88HKD (Round Trip and includes access to Sky Terrace)
- Victoria Peak average wait time: 1-2 hours (significantly longer on the weekends and during peak tourist seasons)
- Taxi cost to Victoria Peak: $60-80HKD (depending on Traffic and pick up point) Transport only
7. CARRY AN UMBRELLA AT ALL TIMES
Always always always carry an umbrella with you, the weather in Hong Kong is unpredictable. Hong Kong gets an average of 101 rainy days a year! We visited in September which averages 8.5 inches of rain if you visit between June-September never leave without an umbrella. If you do however forget an umbrella there will surely be one for sale nearby. Check the average Hong Kong weather. Wish we would have known some Hong Kong travel tips before our trip, we got caught in the rain several times.
8. HONG KONG TAXIS ARE CHEAP
In an expensive city like Hong Kong, you would just assume taxis are expensive like any other big city in the world. WRONG taxis in Hong Kong are super cheap with the first 2 kilometers being a set $22HK and additional $1.60 HK for every 200 meters. Places we wouldn’t suggest taking a taxi to or from: the airport, across the bridge to the other side (tolls add up), during rush hour, or in general, places that can be easily reached by the MTR.
Uber is in Hong Kong too, but we found it significantly more expensive than a taxi in the city. Prices for Uber in Hong Kong got much better for longer distances like to the airport and the outer parts of the city. However, within the main city areas, we found Uber to be nearly twice as expensive as the normal red taxis in Hong Kong.
9. BEST HONG KONG SKYLINE AT VICTORIA HARBOUR
The best Hong Kong tip for taking a picture of the Hong Kong Skyline is to view it from Victoria Harbour on the Kowloon side. Jump on the Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island and it’ll drop you off right at Victoria Harbour in less than 10 minutes. Right in front of the Hong Kong Cultural Center is a prime spot, the area closes at 11 p.m. The nearest MRT station is Tsim Sha Tsui only a ten-minute walk away.